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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 14, 2016 0 comments
Smart home device maker, iDevices, is adding several new smart devices that include Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa integration. Unlike the other devices in the company’s lineup, the new gadgets require a more involved installation rather than being simple plug-and-play designs. The new smart devices are designed to physically replace electric outlets, light switches, and dimmers.
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 12, 2016 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $3,497 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Requires no modifications to internal wall structure
Adjustable-width grille
Minus
Passive system
Needs a subwoofer

THE VERDICT
If you like simplicity and hate seeing speakers, but demand high performance for music and movies, these SoundWalls may be what you’ve been waiting for.

I could start this review by making a comparison between Morel, the loudspeaker company, and morel, the type of mushroom. But someone would no doubt castigate me (or worse) for not referring to morchella, the more technically correct name for morel mushrooms—and therefore, that same someone would deem my comparison to be a mighty poor excuse for an introduction to a Test Report. So, I’ll simply say that Morel is an unusual speaker company, in many ways.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 12, 2016 0 comments
Sound & Vision's coverage of CEDIA 2016 kicks off on Wednesday. As usual, our hard-working, no-time-for-partying crew will be posting daily so be sure to check back here as often as you can so you don’t miss any of the excitement.
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Aug 31, 2016 1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $15/month

AT A GLANCE
Plus
16 built-in tuners
Supports Netflix 4K UHD content
Minus
Non-backlit remote

THE VERDICT
In one simple-to-operate device, the Hopper 3 combines the best of satellite TV—including 4K support—with the most compelling aspects of internet streaming. When you also consider its extensive multiroom distribution capabilities, there’s not another home entertainment device that can match the category-bending Hopper 3.

If the new satellite receiver/DVR from Dish, the Hopper 3, were indeed merely a new satellite receiver/DVR, the chances of us reviewing it would be between slim and you’ve got to be kidding me. After all, this is the age of internet streaming and cord cutting—and linear TV is just soooo last century. Since this is actually a genuine review of the Hopper 3, I guess it’s not a spoiler to say that there’s more to this third-generation, whole-home satellite DVR from Dish than time-shifting network broadcasts.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Aug 11, 2016 1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,700

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Dolby Atmos and (via future upgrade) DTS: X
MusicCast, AirPlay, Bluetooth (both in and out), and Wi-Fi for music streaming
Minus
Larger than most soundbars
Remote control isn’t backlit

THE VERDICT
It’s pricey, but outstanding sonic performance and an impressive list of useful features makes the Yamaha YSP-5600 one of the best overall soundbar values on the market.

It had to happen: Somebody took Dolby Atmos and superglued it to a soundbar. It looks like Dolby Atmos in a Bar (DAIB) is the new Home Theater in a Box (HTIB). Oh, joy of joys.

I jest, of course. I’ve reviewed some really great soundbars—and Yamaha, the company behind this groundbreaking Atmos-enabled model, is no slouch when it comes to all-in-one theater systems. At $1,700, the new YSP-5600 is the most expensive, and most extensively featured, soundbar in Yamaha’s lineup. Measuring in at 43.25 inches wide x 8.38 high x 3.63 deep (without its stand), it looks to be the largest, too. From the size, heft (almost 26 pounds), and quality of construction (including a metal—not cloth—grille), it should be obvious to even the most unshakable soundbar skeptic that this aspires to be a serious speaker system, with or without the Atmos-enabling bits.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jul 20, 2016 1 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $1,499 ea

AT A GLANCE
Plus
2.5-way crossover
Excellent build quality
Amazing soundstage
Minus
Gloss finish needs careful handling

THE VERDICT
Paradigm achieves affordable high-end in the Prestige 75F towers thanks to a beautiful design with furniture-grade finish and reference-quality sound.

With its tall-and-narrow rectangular cabinet, front-mounted drivers, rear-firing port, and cloth grille, Paradigm’s Prestige 75F is the quintessential tower loudspeaker. Fans of new driver types, exotic cabinet designs, the rarest of rare-earth metals, and de rigueur built-in powered woofers might be tempted to pass by (especially when the grille is attached), much as I did figuratively when a pair of the towers arrived.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jul 13, 2016 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,979 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Easy retrofit replacement of wired volume controls
Dedicated router creates private TiO Wi-Fi network
Exceptional level of user customization
Minus
Limited direct IP control of third-party components
Few streaming services supported—but more coming

THE VERDICT
With TiO’s unique approach to home automation, systems are a breeze to design and install, quick to configure, and intuitively natural to use—with the bonus of being highly configurable by the user without the need for a return service call from the dealer.

The folks at TiO (short for “Turn it On”) claim they’re taking “an entirely fresh approach to home automation” with a philosophy that considers the user to be the most important part of a TiO system. In other words, if a home automation system were a round hole and the user a square peg, the manufacturer should re-engineer the hardware hole into a square rather than force the user to become a round peg. Of course, making things truly and honest-to-goodness-ly easy for the user is way, way simpler to pontificate about than it is to accomplish.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jun 27, 2016 0 comments
DISH’s new HopperGO doesn’t fit neatly into a single product category. Unlike the Hopper 3—or any of DISH’s satellite DVRs—the HopperGO costs real money—$99—to purchase (rather than being part of your satellite service subscription). On the other hand, it doesn’t require any monthly fees. Nor does it have a built-in satellite tuner (nor any other kind of tuner, for that matter). No matter how hard you search, you won’t find an HDMI jack on the HopperGO. (Don’t look for an LCD or OLED screen, either. There isn’t one.) It’s small enough to get lost in a shirt pocket. So just what the hell is the HopperGO?
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jun 07, 2016 1 comments

PW 800 Speaker
Performance
Build Quality
Ergonomics
Value

PW Amp Amplifier
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value

PW 600 Speaker
Performance
Build Quality
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,897 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent build and sound quality
192-kHz/24-bit support over Ethernet
Anthem Room Correction with included mic
Minus
Limited number of streaming services
Single orientation for PW speakers
Components can’t be powered on via the app
Play-Fi control and proximity limitations

THE VERDICT
Limited streaming options and a few limitations for its Play-Fi multiroom platform are the only things that hold back this beautifully designed system with top-notch room-correction technology.

At last count, 1.34 bazillion established companies and crazed startups were designing wireless streaming audio systems. The latest company to toss its Wi-Fi dongle into the steaming streaming pile is Paradigm. Founded in 1982, the Toronto-based speaker company is no starry-eyed Kickstarter sensation hell-bent on streaming multiroom audio using a Raspberry Pi, an Altoids tin box, and numerous references to the Internet of Things. In fact, as well known as Paradigm is, the company should know better than to sully their engineering hands (they actually do build a lot of their speakers by hand in Toronto) with the interference-ridden mishmash of 802.11g/n standards, amplified speakers, audio codecs, sample rates, apps, and “What’s the best router to use?” On the other hand, maybe Paradigm—with its new Premium Wireless series—has actually succeeded in building a premium, wireless, streamingaudio system.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: May 16, 2016 1 comments
In my experience, if you talk with anyone (who actually knows what they are) about bone-conduction headphones, nine times out of ten you’ll hear something along the lines of “cool technology” with the quickly added caveat, “sounds like crap.” While both can be accurate, one man’s crap is another man’s…um, let me rephrase that. When it comes to a product or technology, it’s important to consider the ends while evaluating the means...

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